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Voice for the Voiceless

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"I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees!"

When a speaking character speaks for a character or object who can't speak for itself. This can be Played for Laughs or played straight. The person/thing that cannot speak may be The Voiceless, The Speechless, a Companion Cube, a Shrinking Violet, a Cute Mute, a Heroic Mime, etc. This method of translating can be temporary or just a part of the characters' quirks. Compare Mouth of Sauron and Translator Buddy.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In YuruYuri, Nishigaki-sensei does this for Rise Matsumoto, who moves her mouth but can't be heard. Nishigaki-sensei will then tell the other characters what she said, or if they're by themselves will comment on whatever discussion they're having at the time.
  • In Baccano!, Claire Stanfield picks up the habit of speaking for his fiancee Chane, who is unable to talk. Being Claire, most people assume he's just making her responses up until she confirms that he does, in fact, know exactly what she's thinking.
  • In an episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Sousuke has to train a group of yakuza soldiers for an upcoming fight. But since he has to go disguised as the cute mascot Bonta-kun, who can only use Pokémon Speak, Kaname has to serve as his interpretor.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Since Team Rocket's Meowth is the only Pokémon who can speak human (more or less), he often fills this role when a Pokémon wants to speak to a human (usually the heroes). Sometimes he is a willing translator, and sometimes a psychic Pokémon will take over his body.
  • Happens twice in Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun:
    • Nozaki does this as a joke when Mikoshiba and Sakura first meet his quiet younger brother Mayu. Nozaki says Mayu will respond if one talks to him, so Sakura tries talking to him - and Nozaki is the one who answers her, and adds, "Through me."
    • When Kashima catches the cold and is made to rest her voice, she talks by writing in her notepad and having other people read in her stead. Mikoshiba first talks for her but is too embarrassed half the time, and then Hori gives it a shot but ends up Throwing Out the Script and adlibs.
  • Kyou often has to translate for her friend Makoto in FullMaPla since the latter communicates entirely via numbered signs.
  • In Suite Pretty Cure ♪, the Masked Cure doesn't speak for most of the series, leaving her Fairy Tone, Dodory, to do the talking. It wasn't until the 35th episode when she reveals her true identity as Ako Shirabe.

  • Gabriel Iglesias's wife once berated him for not answering his phone by theatrically describing his sins to the family dog in front of him. Since Iglesias's signature gimmick is his excellent mimicry, this proved to be a mistake.
    Fluffy: [to dog] Mommy shouldn't have played this game, because we can play it too, and we can play it better, 'cause I can make you talk back to me!

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines:
    • Red isn't exactly voiceless, but tends not to talk more than necessary, and since he has trouble socializing with others, Yellow does most of the talking for him.
    • Anabel is unable to talk vocally, so she usually communicates through Telepathy. Professor Oak later modifies one of the secondary bodies of Ash's Pokédex installing a program that helps her talk more normally, though it's not 100% perfect.
  • Played for Laughs in Project Voicebend, where Bolin provides a voice for Pabu which for some reason is more normal-sounding than his normal voice.

    Films — Animation 
  • Dumbo: The titular elephant cannot speak; therefore his friend Timothy Mouse does all the talking for him.
  • In Frozen:
    • When Elsa and Anna first built Olaf as children, Elsa provided a funny voice for Olaf ("Hi, I'm Olaf and I love warm hugs!") to make Anna laugh. Of course, later Olaf would legitimately come to life and would later say that exact sentence as his first words.
    • Kristoff likes to "communicate" with his pet reindeer Sven using a goofy voice, and voices Sven's side of the conversation as well.
  • Mason the monkey from the Madagascar franchise does all the talking for his deaf-mute brother Phil, although Phil is shown to be able to use sign language in one scene.
  • Ratatouille: Remy can talk to other rats but not to humans; whenever he teams with Linguini in the kitchen, Linguini does all the talking for him.
  • In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Happy does this for Dopey when the dwarfs are first meeting Snow White. It's unclear whether Dopey is actually voiceless, however; when the princess inquires whether he's unable to speak, Happy replies, "We don't know! He's never tried!"
  • Up: During the A Minor Kidroduction scene at the opening, Ellie does all the talking for Carl as a Shrinking Violet.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
  • Dogma: The Metatron speaks on behalf of God, since His voice is so powerful that human beings cannot hear it without their mind caving in and their heart exploding ("We went through five Adams before we figured that one out").
  • In Mystery Men, The Bowler does this for her father, the original Bowler, whose soul (and skull) resides in a bowling ball.
  • In My Favorite Year, Alice is this, for most of the film, for Herb.
  • In Ben-Hur (1959), Judah returns home to find that his old servant Simonides has recently been released from prison, but was paralyzed from the waist down due to the torture. He found another man Malak, who lost his tongue, and became his voice while Malak acts as his legs.
  • Transformers: Since Bumblebee had his voicebox ripped out, he switches between radio stations saying random words in order to form full sentences.
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space: None of the Klowns can talk, but after killing Officer Mooney, one Klown uses his corpse as a ventriloquist dummy and can use it to speak, communicating his intentions to Dave.
    Mooney: Don't worry, Dave, all we want to do is kill you!

  • Ender Wiggin in Orson Scott Card's Enderverse novels Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. He speaks for the dead Buggers and several dead humans.
  • George R. R. Martin's Haviland Tuf in "Guardians." He speaks for the mudpots of the planet Namor, who are secretly behind the planetary ecosystem's war against the human colonists (the colonists were eating the mudpots without realizing they were sapient).
  • Alternately parodied and played straight several times in various Discworld novels, especially those with Vimes. In Night Watch, Reg Shoe thinks he's speaking for the People, but Vimes reflects that the People would "clip [him] round the ear if they found [him] doing it". However, Vimes is quoted as using this line straight himself in the earlier book Feet of Clay ("Commander Vimes says someone has to speak for those who have no voices!"), and in The Wee Free Men, Tiffany Aching recalls her grandmother expressing a similar sentiment.
  • Dr. Seuss' character, The Lorax.
    "Mister!" he said with a sawdusty sneeze,
    "I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.
    I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.
    And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs—"
    he was very upset as he shouted and puffed—
    "What's that THING you've made out of my Truffula tuft?"
  • In Haroun and the Sea Of Stories, Rashid Kahlifa can understand Abhinaya, the Gesture Language, and thus interprets for Mudra the Shadow Warrior.
  • In The Vampire Chronicles, Maharet more or less fills this role for her twin sister, Mekare, whose tongue was cut out when they were still human.
  • The Neverending Story presents an interesting variant. The Childlike Empress only hears The Old Man of Wandering Mountain as if she remembered that he just spoke, but his mouth never moves.
  • Miras Griffin has griffins and humans who are unable to communicate. Mira becomes the voice of the humans to the griffins, and her griffin friend Freko the other way around.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the first several seasons of The Big Bang Theory, Raj literally Cannot Talk to Women unless he's drunk. Thankfully for him, his Heterosexual Lifepartner Howard has his back as the guy to whom he whispers what needs to be said... most of the time. Sometimes, Howard's annoyed comeback is all the translation the audience needs; other times, Howard will blatantly lie about what Raj said since he knows Raj can't contradict him out loud, stirring up grief for Raj for his own amusement. The selective mutism eventually eases up as the series progresses.
  • In the iCarly/Victorious crossover "iParty with Victorious", Cat comes down with a case of vocal nodules meaning she cannot speak until her throat heals. Thus, she relies on a speaker headband that works via Bluetooth, to do all the talking for her.
  • In Lizzie McGuire, Matt is the only one who can understand his silent friend Lanny.
    • Although all but Matt consider Lanny to be The Voiceless, Matt repeatedly tells others that he finds it hard to get a word in edgewise when conversing with his friend.
  • The Sandman (2022): Chantal and Zelda are a pair of Perky Goths who go everywhere together. Zelda never speaks audibly; when she has something to say she whispers it in Chantal's ear, and Chantal repeats it out loud.
  • From the Mr. Bill segments of Saturday Night Live, Sluggo hated Mr. Bill, but Sluggo himself never seemed to speak, so Mr. Hands would tell Mr. Bill what Sluggo says, as well as carry out whatever harm Sluggo wanted to befall on Mr. Bill.
  • Riva, a deaf mediator who appears in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Loud as a Whisper", travels with a telepathic "chorus" that speaks for him. When they are killed in an assassination attempt, he has no way of communicating until Data builds a library to interpret his sign language, and the episode ends with Riva intending to teach his sign language to the warring parties. Why Riva did not simply write what he wanted to say was never addressed (the script implies that he and his family are illiterate).

  • Rage Against the Machine have a song called "Voice of the Voiceless," which is about Mumia Abu-Jamal.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Brock Lesnar frequently speaks through Paul Heyman, though it's a reconstruction of the trope. It's shown that Lesnar is perfectly capable of speaking; he just doesn't want to waste his breath. As such, Heyman cuts promos in Lesnar's place because Lesnar at least tolerates Heyman's presence.
  • CM Punk referred to himself as the "Voice of the Voiceless" during his WWE run in the 2010s, saying things to Vince McMahon and upper management of WWE that everyone else would like to say but couldn't out of fear of losing their jobs. He once made a Badass Boast saying that a microphone in his hands was "a pipe bomb", and was something of a Fourth-Wall Observer where he frequently discussed things outside of kayfabe in an effort to bring his grievances with the company to light. As a face, Punk really was speaking for those less fortunate or in a worse position than himself, even at great personal expense or risk. As a heel, Punk was a hypocrite who really only cared about advancing his own agenda, even stepping over the people he claimed to be wanting to help.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Shadowrun dragons can use a form of telepathy but can't speak the way humans can. They will choose a metahuman to translate their thoughts into speech when necessary, such as television appearances.
  • In Warhammer Fantasy Battles, the council of thirteen of the Skaven has the Grey Seers' seated member intercept their god's will; this really gives the Grey Seers a second vote in all matters.

  • In Sunday in the Park with George, George gives his voice to the dogs he's painting, which are played by cardboard cutouts.
  • In the Deaf West revival of Spring Awakening, the characters who are played by Deaf or hard of hearing actors each have another actor acting as their Voice- that is, the actor playing the character will sign while the other actor, the character's voice, speaks what they are signing.

    Video Games 
  • Near the end of Mother 3, the recurring villain Fassad receives an interpreter robot after he's upgraded to some sort of half-mechanical nightmare out of the Book of Revelations. He can only communicate through horns.
  • Pokémon:
    • There's a funny little side-story in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness that culminates in someone speaking for an inanimate object. Dugtrio is obsessed with the VAAAAST SEA, often shirking work to go talk at it. One day, it answers back, telling Dugtrio that it really wishes they would get back to work... which, of course, turns out to be Loudred throwing his voice at the request of Dugtrio's son.
    • A more serious version occurs in Pokémon Sword and Shield when the Legendary pokémon Calyrex needs the player's help, but due to being a pokémon, it can't talk. Calyrex Mind Controls a nearby human to speak on its behalf.
  • In Ōkami, Amaterasu cannot speak to mortals, so her sidekick Issun speaks for her. This leads to a comedic episode where Ammy must talk to the inhabitants of Ponc'tan without Issun at her side; during the conversations beats where Issun would usually interject, the camera instead focuses on the awkwardly silent Ammy, leaving the Poncles to try and guess what she is thinking.
  • Caim from Drakengard forged a spiritual bond with a dragon and lost his voice as the price. Fortunately, his dragon can communicate telepathically with him and is sometimes willing to voice his thoughts to others.
  • In The Legend of Zelda games, Link's Exposition Fairies tend to do most of the dialog for him (except for some question-answering).
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, where an Exposition Fairy is notably absent, there will always be at least two other people in the cutscenes, so the one closer to him can take over the talking.
    • Link's fairy companion in Hyrule Warriors is named Proxi, who also speaks on behalf of Young Link. Toon Link instead has his little sister Aryll speak on his behalf thanks to the Pirate's Charm.
  • Chibi-Robo! can only communicate with simple Yes or No responses, so his "manager" Telly does the talking when necessary.
  • Classic Tails speaks on Classic Sonic's behalf in Sonic Generations.
  • This is what Mario's partners are for him in the Paper Mario games, especially in Thousand Year Door where there's tons of dialog between characters in the story, it's different depending on which partner you have out as it always reflects their personality but the basic story and their and Mario's current goal stay same.
  • Jonner is this for Mr. Blix in Freelancer while Trent is searching for von Klausen on New Berlin.
  • In Henry Stickmin Series, if Ellie Rose becomes Henry's faithful partner after escaping the Wall together, she will serve as this to him as Ellie occasionally talks on his behalf.
  • Arngeir in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim speaks for the other three Greybeards, as their voices are powerful enough that if they try to speak to a normal person, they might kill them, and Arngeir is the only one with enough mastery over the Voice to control his power. This is proven when one of them whispers—and the building shakes.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Misha serves as an interpreter for the deaf Shizune, who uses sign language. Some of Misha's own personality quirks occasionally get in the way, though.
  • PAYDAY 2 has Jacket, who lacks a voice in his original game, communicates via a tape recorder of an automated telephone voice that includes snippets of other things- some are even in other languages.
  • Overwatch has Hammond a.k.a. Wrecking Ball, a genetically enhanced hamster and Mech battle champion. The mech translates for him since he only speaks in squeaks.
  • Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy has Daxter fill in this role for Jak. How much Jak actually agrees with Daxter varies somewhat: while Jak appears to be more level-headed than Daxter and often visually disagrees with his brash approach in cutscenes, Samos' opinion of the pair suggests that Jak is just as bumbling as Daxter is, at least according to their past behavior.
    • This trope is downplayed when Jak starts talking, starting with Jak II: Renegade: Daxter will often still be the mouthpiece for both, but over time Jak grows into speaking his own mind before Daxter starts for both. Many conversations however will have an aspect of Finishing Each Other's Sentences as they talk to characters like Krew and Damas, due to their shared opinions in certain scenes.
  • In Dragon Age:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, it's explained that the Silent Sisters are an order of female dwarven fighters who voluntarily cut out their own tongues in order to emulate their founder, who had the same thing happen to her. Each Sister therefore has one of these assigned to her as a sort of handler/manager.
      • In Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, the party encounters a former Silent Sister who has become infected with the darkspawn taint. She works for The Architect, who speaks on her behalf when necessary, though this isn't often.
    • Minor character Sutherland, in Dragon Age: Inquisition, fills this role for Voth, the non-speaking mage who joins his small adventuring company. Sutherland says that Voth doesn't speak, but it's not clear whether or not he actually can.
  • In Destiny, the main character almost never speaks, with your Ghost doing most of the talking. By Destiny 2, you have become completely mute, and all social interactions are handled by your Ghost.
  • Gale from Digital Devil Saga was specifically created to be this to the Heroic Mime Serph, as the writer Yu Godai had designed Serph to have dialogue and a role in the plot, but that would have gone against Atlus's tradition. In the novel Quantum Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner, Serph is a Composite Character combining the game Serph's name, appearance and Atma powers with Gale's dialogue lines. Yu Godai however specifically rewrote the book Serph's personality and role for Gale to make sense to appear in the book.
  • Stray has B-12 fulfill this role on behalf of the cat protagonist whenever they need to communicate with the city's robotic citizenry. Otherwise, the cat can only "talk" with meows and body language—something best demonstrated in the beginnings of the Antvillage and Jail chapters, along with the end of the Control Room chapter.
  • In the Galaxy Angel II trilogy, King Soldum does not speak to the heroes directly due to a tradition of the monarchs of planet Seldar who only speak to their families. As a result, the two fairies Kelsie and Santa Rosa speak for him via a Psychic Link. This is subverted later when the king decides to break his vow of silence and address his people directly in the coming of a crisis, and from then on he speaks for himself.

    Web Animation 
  • After being shot in the throat, Maine from Red vs. Blue can no longer speak, so Carolina gives him her AI Sigma to speak for him. Whether or not Sigma's words accurately reflect what Maine means to say is an excellent question.
  • RWBY: After the events of the finale of Volume 3, Cinder has to struggle to speak at all, barely managing a whisper. Emerald is shown acting as her mouthpiece in a meeting with the other villainous leaders.

    Web Comics 
  • God-Emperor Jadis of the Seven from Kill Six Billion Demons is a half-rotted corpse entombed in crystal who can barely communicate except through whispering fragments of words, and pictographs she projects onto the surface of her crystalline prison. Despite this Jadis is the most powerful oracle of all time thanks to her omniscience, and is worshipped by priesthood of fanatics. Her priests assiduously note down every errant sound or action made by their imprisoned god, interpret them as prophecies, and speak them out for the rest of the world to hear. While Jadis herself is inerrant (she literally cannot be wrong, nor lie), her priests' interpretations of her actions are very much not.

    Western Animation 
  • In Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Zimbo is the one who speaks on behalf of The Snorch.
  • Animaniacs (2020): One of the new segments is about a gnome who comes out of people's mouths and speaks up for them when they can't speak for themselves, appropriately called "The Incredible Gnome in People's Mouths".
  • The American Dad! episode "Gorillas in the Mist" has a zoo gorilla's trainer translate his sign language. Likewise, the gorilla's father is translated by the trainer's father.
  • Bob's Burgers: Bob gives speech to Lance, a Thanksgiving turkey, in "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal".
  • Friend Bear speaks for Secret Bear in all appearances in the Care Bears, as she's the only one who understands Secret's pantomiming and can translate her body language. In "The Cloud of Uncaring", the only episode that Friend Bear doesn't appear alongside Secret Bear, Secret finds it most difficult to get the other bears to understand what he's saying. Lampshaded by Brave Heart in said episode.
  • In The Dragon Prince, Commander Gren interprets General Amaya's sign language. While others translate for her as the situation grants it, Amaya considers Gren to be her voice due to their strong friendship.
  • Gerald McBoing-Boing: In the 2005 incarnation, Gerald's speaking friends Jacob and Janine, as well as his parents, do most of the talking for him.
  • Wendy Blob from Hotel Transylvania: The Series is the only one in Blobby's family who actually talks. In episodes where Blobby does appear, Wendy does all the talking.
  • Deaf mermaid Gabriela in The Little Mermaid (1992) has her octopus friend Ollie translate her sign language.
  • Pinkie Pie's youngest sister Marble Pie in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is so shy, she never says anything (except a quiet "mm-hmm"), leading Pinkie to do almost all of the talking for her.
  • Phineas Flynn of Phineas and Ferb does most of the talking for his brother Ferb Fletcher, who doesn't talk so often.
  • The Proud Family: Nubia of the Gross Sisters is the only one who actually speaks; thus she does all the talking for her sisters for their appearances.
  • Tangled: The Series: Angry does most of the talking for her mostly silent partner Red.
  • Since B is silent, Dawn in Total Drama Revenge of the Island would speak on his behalf when he is communicating his plans to his team.
  • Soundwave uses something of a variant. When he has to say something, he plays back a recording of something another character said earlier.

    Real Life 
  • The "voice for the voiceless" is sometimes meant metaphorically — to say that someone will speak on behalf of an individual or group whose concerns are certainly capable of being voiced, but are ignored or disrespected by a more powerful group. The one doing the speaking will often refer to himself/herself (often accurately) as one who is more than capable of equaling if not more than equaling the opposing group.
  • Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, though mostly silent, can occasionally become this.
  • It goes without saying that for those who are mute or are incapable of communicating in a way other than sign language, they'll most likely have someone who can translate sign language.